The Establishment’s primary means of maintaining control in this country is to keep the masses divided at all times. I sound like a broken record saying this but it’s the truth: they want us fighting amongst one another rather than uniting and coming after them.
I have also said on this site that I believe the root cause of all the political polarization and bitterness in this country is that for most of the past 20 years, the American economy has been generally in rough shape. Millions of jobs have been shipped overseas as immigration has surged, and GDP growth has moved at its weakest pace since the 1930s:
You can see that in the 2000s, real GDP growth was just 1.9%, and in the 2010s, it was 2.3%. In the 1990s, it was 3.2%, and in the 1980s it was 3.1%.
That may not seem like a great difference, but the difference between 1.9% and 3.2% over a decade is trillions of dollars and millions of jobs.
US GDP right in 2020 was about $20.9 trillion. 3.2% of that is $668.8 billion, but 2.3% of that is $480.7 billion. That’s a difference of almost $200 billion, just in one year. Think of how many jobs that is. Think of how many regular Americans’ annual salaries that is.
When we’re talking about an average GDP growth trajectory of 3.2% vs. 2.3% or even 1.9% over the course of an entire decade, we are talking about trillions of dollars. Compound growth is the reason why, and I’ll give you an example:
Country A’s GDP is $10 trillion and in a year the economy grows 4%. That would mean that GDP is now $10.4 trillion. If it grows 4% the next year as well, it is now $10.816, because while 4% of $10 trillion is $400 billion, 4% of $10.4 trillion is $416 billion.
Country B also has a $10 trillion economy, but in the same year Country A’s economy grew 4%, Country B’s economy grows just 1%, and then 4% the next year. Over those two years, Country B’s economy has grown by $504 billion, while Country A’s economy grew by $816 billion over that same two-year period, a difference of over $300 billion.
Even if the economy in Country B grows 5% the following year, and the economy in Country A maintains its 4% growth rate, Country A is still over $200 billion ahead of Country B in terms of total GDP: $11.248 trillion to $11.029 trillion.
This is because economic growth is compounding, and on a national level, a difference of just a few percentage points means many hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Over the course of a whole decade, it’s trillions of dollars.
GDP growth from 1950-1999 averaged 3.6%, but from 2000-2020, it averaged just 1.8%, meaning GDP growth was halved over the past 20 years compared to the long-term average of the back-half of the 20th century.
A persistently sluggish economy is a tinderbox for political conflict, even if people don’t realize it directly.
I’m not saying that when we see images of Antifa and Trump supporters clashing in the streets it’s because they’re both consciously pissed about the economy. They probably think they’re fighting over some other political matter, whether it be Donald Trump or white nationalism or the police, or whatever, but they are moved to the point of screaming and marching and even fighting in the streets first and foremost because they are economically frustrated.
What I’m saying is, these “issues” that people are supposedly taking to the streets over, they would not care about them anywhere near as much if they were doing better financially.
What I mean is that when the economy is weak, people are generally discontented, frustrated and even depressed. People who are financially stable are happier; people who are constantly having trouble making ends meet are less happy.
They also have less to lose. They are more inclined to be rebellious because they implicitly sense that the current status quo in the country is not benefitting them. So, whether consciously or subconsciously, they wager that maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if they were to revolt in the streets and upend the system.
Typically, the profile of a protester, rioter or rebel is a person who does not have a lot of skin in the game economically. It’s typically not business owners, homeowners, high-earners and breadwinners who are throwing bricks through windows and flipping cars. Because these people have a lot to lose if the status quo changes.
A stable society is one where virtually every working-age adult is gainfully employed, owns a home, and either has a family or will begin one within a few years’ time. An unstable society is the opposite, and America is more and more resembling the opposite of a stable society, where fewer working-age people are gainfully employed, own homes and have families to take care of.
The wealthy ruling class in America is too greedy and short-sighted to actually attempt to fix the economy and get this country back to real, genuine, broad-based prosperity. But they also recognize that their grip on power is threatened by the growing instability. So, their band-aid solution is to divide the masses into two warring tribes that are constantly fighting with each other, because if the people weren’t fighting with each other, they’d be united against the ruling class.
A civil war, as it is understood in today’s America, is a war between the people: a war between Democrats and Republicans. I guess it would basically be the clashes we see between Antifa and Trump supporters, but on a larger scale, and involving more shooting and killing.
This is very different from a revolution, where the people are united against the ruling class and overthrow the government.
The ruling class would much rather see the “civil war” play out than the revolution, obviously. Because the civil war would give the ruling class the excuse to massively crack down on the violence and restrict freedom even further in this country. They would claim “emergency powers.”
The net effect of a political or ideological civil war in the country is that it actually strengthens the ruling class’s grip on power. It allows them to become more and more authoritarian and crackdown on dissidents, making a revolution less likely.
And so, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise now that the Establishment-aligned New York Times is fanning the flames of the “Coming Civil War” narrative.
But why now? What spurred the New York Times’ Charles Blow (the author of the piece) to write this now, as opposed to last summer, or in the wake of the 2020 election?
The ostensible reason is over the challenge to abortion that is now before the Supreme Court, and the expectation by many that the Supreme Court will, sometime next year, strike down Roe v. Wade, and thus render abortion a question decided entirely by the states, meaning many states will quickly move to ban it, thus reducing all women in those states to lives of servitude and second-class citizenship.
Now the tone of Blow’s article is more that of a dispassionate observer from the social elite solemnly shaking his head and saying, “Oh heavens, I do fear that this is quite an ominous portent for our republic.”
But in reality, what this op-ed is doing is mainstreaming the idea that it might just be appropriate to start a civil war if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. At the very least, it’s not out of the question.
After all, the idea of a civil war happening can’t be that crazy if even the New York Times is entertaining it, right?
Obviously Charles Blow will not be on the front lines of this potential civil war that he–and the New York Times’ entire editorial board by allowing the article to be published–is implicitly encouraging.
But this article and others like it only make it more likely, as opposed to less likely, that a civil war does actually come to fruition. And that is not an accident.
Let’s get into the article here, without further ado:
The Supreme Court on Friday issued a decision allowing abortion providers in Texas to continue challenging a new law that bans most abortions in the state after about six weeks of pregnancy. But while the conservative majority didn’t close the door on abortion in Texas completely, the degree to which it is cracked allows in only a sliver of light.
For now, the law in question, Senate Bill 8, remains on the books. Anyone who assists in providing an illegal abortion — from the provider down to the person who gives a woman a ride to the clinic — can still be sued. Roe v. Wade has essentially been overturned in the state, and soon that astonishing reality may not only become permanent there but may also spread to other states.
A key component of women’s rights and body autonomy is being snatched away as we watch.
In a dissent Friday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote: “This is a brazen challenge to our federal structure. It echoes the philosophy of John C. Calhoun, a virulent defender of the slaveholding South who insisted that States had the right to ‘veto’ or ‘nullif[y]’ any federal law with which they disagreed.”
I guess you could say that. Sotomayor does have a point: the nullification crisis that preceded the Civil War was about what degree of autonomy the states had vs. the federal government when it came to laws. If the individual states can nullify any federal laws they disagree with, then the federal government is essentially powerless, and we are at that point just 50 individual sovereign nations rather than 50 united states.
But you could also make the argument that Sotomayor is outlining an extreme scenario here: there is a difference between general nullification and states’ rights. It’s about whether the federal government has the power to legalize abortion nationwide, or if that is a question that ought to be left to the states to decide individually. It’s narrower than Sotomayor is saying it is. You can say abortion is a matter for the states to decide themselves without saying the states have the right to nullify any federal law they please.
And the fundamental question being considered by the Supreme Court is whether abortion is actually an inalienable right, like the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, etc.
That’s probably how proponents of the Texas law are viewing it: as a way to right the wrong of Roe v. Wade.
Let’s not act like it’s unprecedented for the Supreme Court to overturn a decision a prior court made. It has happened plenty of times: Plessy v. Ferguson was overturned. Dred Scott was overturned. In 1972 the Supreme Court refused to hear a case on gay marriage, but then in 2015 the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was legal.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it will not be the first time (or the last time) that the Supreme Court overturns a prior decision.
I found the invocation of South Carolina’s Calhoun striking. Yes, he was a strong believer in nullification, the idea that states could nullify federal laws, but he was also a raging racist who went further than the slave owners who saw slavery as a “necessary evil,” seeing it instead as a positive good.
In 1837, Calhoun railed in a speech on the Senate floor that slavery had “grown up with our society and institutions and is so interwoven with them that to destroy it would be to destroy us as a people.” He continued:
“But let me not be understood as admitting, even by implication, that the existing relations between the two races in the slaveholding states is an evil: Far otherwise; I hold it to be a good, as it has thus far proved itself to be to both and will continue to prove so if not disturbed by the fell spirit of abolition. I appeal to facts. Never before has the Black race of Central Africa, from the dawn of history to the present day, attained a condition so civilized and so improved, not only physically but morally and intellectually.”
He would reiterate that slavery was, “instead of an evil, a good — a positive good.”
In fact, Calhoun’s stance on slavery and states’ rights was so severe that he has been called the father of secession and the man who started the Civil War, even though he died 11 years before the war commenced.
It’s funny, you can replace the word “slavery” in this passage with “abortion” and it would be almost perfectly describing the arguments of the abortion advocates right now.
“Abortion advocates rail that abortion had ‘grown up with our society and institutions and is so interwoven with them that to destroy it would be to destroy us as a people.'”
Is this not the tone of a great many abortion advocates out there?
Abortion advocates don’t view abortion as a necessary evil these days. They view it as a positive good, something to be celebrated. To them, abortion is not just a last resort, it’s desirable. There is a website called “Shout Your Abortion” where women share their stories of abortion and congratulate each other for getting abortions.
I don’t even want to quote from those two links and provide examples because it’s all just so ghoulish and disgusting, but if you want to wade into those waters yourself, by all means.
The problem with abortion is how radical the Democrats have become on it in just a few short decades. In the 1990s, Bill Clinton’s position on abortion was that it should be “safe, legal and rare.” This was even Hillary Clinton’s position on the matter when she ran for President in 2008!
Now it’s treated almost a sort of holy sacrament that should be encouraged and celebrated, rather than a last, regrettable resort. Now we are expected to commend women for getting abortions and see it as “empowering” to women; like a woman is “taking a stand against the patriarchy” when she gets an abortion or something.
They’re proud of it! It’s like a personality trait to them.
This whole thing has gone completely off the rails, and it needs to be reined in.
Let’s continue with Blow’s piece:
In Calhoun’s view, the states had the right to control and oppress Black bodies as they saw fit, regardless of any actions to the contrary on the federal level. States, he felt, should be able to choose whether or not they wanted slavery.
I see too many uneasy parallels between what was happening nearly 200 years ago and what is happening now. I see this country on the verge of another civil war, as the Calhounian impulse is reborn.
Was Charles Blow alive in 1837 or something? How would he know what things were like in the lead up to the Civil War?
There are enormous, obvious differences, of course. The civil war I see is not the kind that would leave hundreds of thousands of young men dead in combat. That is not to say that we aren’t seeing spats of violence but rather that this new war will be fought in courts, statehouses and ballot boxes, rather than in the fields.
So, it’ll be just… politics?
This is where Charles Blow starts going off the rails:
And this war won’t be only about the subjugation of Black people but also about the subjugation of all who challenge the white racist patriarchy.
It will seek to push back against all the “others”: Black people, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ people and, yes, women, particularly liberal ones.
Okay, what? Where did this come from? I know Blow is the NYT’s resident race-hustler, but he was just talking about abortion, and now he’s talking about declaring war on whitey.
It seemed like his point was that abortion would trigger a civil war, but now he’s making it seem like MAGA Trump Racist White Nationalists are going to “push back against” all the “others.”
I don’t know how we just went from “abortion will spark the civil war” to “whitey is going to try to kill all the minorities,” but that’s what happened.
In some ways, the abortion battle now being waged in the courts is a test case. Can the states make an argument that a civil right can be reversed on the state level? Can they make the case that all that the Constitution has not explicitly spelled out should be reserved for the states?
I guess I can see why one would view the abortion case as a matter of a civil right being reversed, but what other civil rights are under imminent threat of being reversed here? If Blow is trying to make the case that abortion will be the first of many dominoes to fall, he’s not doing a very good job of it. He doesn’t list any other civil rights that are under threat if the Texas abortion challenge succeeds.
And that last sentence: “Can they make the case that all that the Constitution has not explicitly spelled out should be reserved for the states?”
This is awkward.
Is Charles Blow not aware of the 10th Amendment?
Seems pretty clear to me. Nobody has to “make the case” that the Constitution reserves for the states all powers not explicitly spelled out for the federal government. It’s already in the Constitution.
It has been in the Constitution since 1791.
The Constitution has been silent on quite a bit since it was written in 1787, and the last time it was amended was nearly 30 years ago, in 1992, when the states ratified the 27th Amendment. When did Congress first approve that amendment? In 1789! Having not gotten enough states to ratify it after passage, it simply languished for 200 years.
Yeah, but the Constitution was not silent on the matter of which powers were delegated to the federal government and which powers were reserved to the states.
All of us should be very worried about what we see happening with these abortion cases — not just women who might need abortions or relatives and friends of women who might need them.
We should worry about whether or not we are at an inflection point for an age of regression.
Alrighty then. A lot of people would argue that overturning Roe v. Wade heralds the exact opposite of an age of regression, but to each their own.
Overall, this op-ed was pretty incoherent.
But I think the headline was the point, not the actual content of the article. The New York Times simply running the headline “We’re edging closer to civil war in America” was the main goal here.
Most people don’t read the articles. People see the headline, it gets circulated, and the idea of America descending into civil war gets a little more mainstream and a little less outlandish. It starts to become more of a realistic possibility.
That was the objective.
I have said in recent weeks that we don’t need to have a civil war, we just need the Woke crowd to start living in the real world.
We don’t have to have a civil war because we “don’t agree” on how many genders there are: the Wokes just have to come to their senses.
We don’t need to have a civil war because “disagree” on the matter of vaccine passports: the Covidiots and Karens need to get a grip and realize that they are having full-blown panic attacks over a virus that just isn’t anywhere near as dangerous as they’ve been led to believe it is.
Abortion seems to be a pretty clear-cut moral battle over whether or not a woman has the “right to choose,” but then consider how much of the abortion debate is clouded by lies and delusion. How often do you see abortion advocates try to argue that abortion isn’t murder? All the time!
How many people in this country are in favor of abortion because they have been convinced that abortion is not murder? Probably a lot!
Sure, there are some people out there who are in favor of abortion while fully acknowledging that it is murder, but I think the vast majority of people who have been convinced to side with the pro-abortion side have also been led to believe that it’s not murder to kill an unborn child.
I really don’t believe the vast majority of the country is extreme on abortion. I would say there’s like 10% on the far left that think abortion should be legal in all circumstances right up until the moment of birth and even including at including during birth, and there’s like 10% on the right that think abortion should be illegal in all cases, period, end of story.
But the remaining 80% of the country is probably a lot more moderate and reasonable on abortion, believing it to be a necessary evil but that there should definitely be restrictions on it.
I mean, even this supposedly extreme Texas abortion law still allows abortions up to 6 weeks.
We don’t need to have a civil war over our “disagreements.” We need the Wokes to get a grip and start living in the real world.
Just think of how much things in this country would improve if, overnight, the Wokes simply stopped believing things that are demonstrably false.
I also don’t think there are enough people in this country that care that much about abortion that they would be willing to die for it.
Because that’s really what this Charles Blow column is saying, isn’t it? That abortion has the potential to spark a civil war.
I just don’t see it. Obviously Antifa and all the other Democrat-aligned Astroturf paramilitary groups are going to riot in the streets if and when the Supreme Court overturns Roe, but I don’t see it mobilizing a large number of people to take up arms and risk their lives in a civil war.
I mean, come on. Are these chicks going to start a civil war?
I just don’t see it.
Is that dude in the back on the left going to take up arms if the Supreme Court overturns Roe? Who will follow him into battle? Definitely not the chicks he’s Standing In Solidarity With at abortion marches.
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, I think the feminists are going to be very depressed when they find out just how few people in this country care about abortion as much as they do.
Doesn’t this feel a bit like desperation, the New York Times running this op-ed about the potential for civil war over abortion? It’s pretty obviously not going to happen. Charles Blow couldn’t even make a coherent case that it would.
And that’s why I am now convinced that this whole “the coming civil war” narrative is an Establishment psyop, a propaganda campaign desperately trying to whip up unrest and partisan animosity.
Regular readers of this site know that I have always maintained that a revolution is far more likely in this country than a civil war, although for a while, I did think that a civil war might be possible.
It was mainly last year during all the riots; I thought there was maybe a chance all that could’ve devolved into a full-blown race war situation. I mean there was basically a small-scale race war in Chicago between Hispanics and blacks last year anyway.
But now that that stuff has all largely blown over, and now that I see the New York Times pushing the “coming civil war” narrative, I am definitely sure it’s Fake News.
The elites want it to happen to take the pressure off themselves, but I just don’t see it. Definitely not over abortion.
If it was going to happen, it would’ve happened last summer. We were already like 85% of the way there.
Addendum: One thing I wanted to add here is a little more clarity in regard to the first part of this post, about how economics is the root of the present-day political unrest.
You might say, “How could a nation as well-off as America be full of people experiencing economic discontent?”
It’s a fair point. After all, America is easily the wealthiest major country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. We rank 6th in the world according to the World Bank, but only ahead of us are tiny countries like Luxembourg (625k population), Switzerland (8.6m population, tax haven for the wealthy), Macau (662k population), Ireland (5m population, also a tax haven) and Norway (5.3 million, one of the most oil-rich nations on the planet, largest sovereign wealth fund as well).
How could people be restless when they have iPhones, laptops, flat-screen TVs, cheap but quality clothing, and an abundance of Stuff? It’s not as if America is in a famine, either; the obesity rate is over 40%!
But it’s not about absolute wealth standards. Americans don’t care that they’re many times better off materially than people in, say, Somalia or Yemen, or South Sudan. People in those countries are out of sight, out of mind as far as Americans are concerned.
It’s about relative wealth. America may be the wealthiest nation on average, but America also has a bunch of highly publicized billionaires running around who have it way, way better than everyone else, and many of them are viewed as undeserving of all that money. For instance, the many Wall Street billionaires who create literally nothing of value and may in fact be a net-burden on society given that their harebrained financial schemes have already blown up the global economy once this century. And then they were bailed out by the taxpayers, and nobody went to prison.
It’s not about how wealthy you are compared to someone in Sub-Sarhan Africa (although it probably should be, theoretically). It’s about how wealthy you are compared to your neighbor–or the billionaire celebrities you see on social media and on TV every single day. Not a day goes by where you don’t see Jeff Bezos this, Elon Musk that, or a headline like “so-and-so celebrity just officially became a billionaire.” When people see headlines like “Kim Kardashian is officially a billionaire,” a lot of them come to the conclusion that something has gone horribly awry in this country. Whether she actually genuinely deserves to be a billionaire is really beside the point; the general perception is that she’s a tabloid skank who has done nothing to deserve it, and perception is reality.
Following from this proliferation of high-profile billionaires in America, it’s misleading to conclude that Americans are generally very well-off based on GDP per capita alone. America as a nation may be the richest in the world, but that wealth is also highly concentrated among a small group of people at the top. According to the Federal Reserve, the wealthiest 1% of Americans own 16x more wealth than the bottom 50%.
In fact, the top 1% owns a greater share of the wealth than the bottom 90% of the country: 32.3% for the top 1%, 30.1% for the bottom 90%.
In other words, given that there are about 128 million households in the US, 1.28 million households hold more wealth than the bottom 115 million households combined.
Let’s put it another way: if the total US population is 333 million, and there are 128.45 million households in the US, then the average US household is about 2.59 people according to the most recent statistics.
There are about 3.3 million people in the top 1%, which is about equivalent to the population of the state of Connecticut. This also means that there are about 300,000,000 people in the bottom 90%.
Imagine if the people of the state of Connecticut owned more wealth than 47 other states combined, minus Texas. I say minus Texas and Kansas because there are about 30 million people in Texas, 3 million people in Kansas, so subtract those 33 million from the total US population of 333,000,000 and you get around 300 million.
The wealth distribution in present-day America is basically a situation where the people of Connecticut own more wealth than the population of 47 other states combined.
The top 3.3 million people own more wealth than the bottom 300 million.
I’m not trying to go all Bernie Sanders on you here, but it’s a fact. America as a country is very wealthy, but most of that wealth is owned by a small group of people at the very top.
So that is why America can be the “wealthiest nation in the world” but also be experiencing serious economic unrest.
It’s also about comparing the present to the past. Do you remember the “Old Economy Steve” memes?
It’s a whole different economy nowadays.
Everything today is way more expensive in real terms than it was a generation ago. This is the Case-Shiller home price index, which is adjusted for inflation:
Housing prices are significantly higher today than they were for most of the back-half of the 20th century. And this chart is from December 2018, three years ago. It’s even worse today. It has never been more expensive to own a home in American history.
Here’s another chart that shows how much more expensive things have gotten in America:
This is from 2016, but it shows that since 1978, college tuition has increased by almost 1,300%. Healthcare has gone up 673%. Cars are really the only major purchase that have remained affordable–in fact cars are actually more affordable now–but since housing, college and healthcare have all skyrocketed, many people don’t have money left over to buy a car anyway.
Real household median incomes have basically been stagnant since 2000:
Nominal incomes have gone up, but when you adjust income for inflation, it basically has been flat for 20 years. And who knows how much worse it got since the lockdowns.
Look, the truth is, the current generation is way worse off economically than their parents. It’s just a fact.
The vast majority of Americans are not in a great place economically.